A percussion massager is a massaging device that uses concentrated pressure pulses to help work out the knots and tension of specific muscles. Instead of working out your entire back or leg, this manoeuvrable device allows you to pinpoint the muscle that needs attention and give it the right amount of tender love and care.
Most handheld massagers work with a rolling action that you slide along the muscle you want massaged. Percussion massagers work differently as they use an intense hammer motion, often in the shape of a gun, to isolate and work on a specific part of the body or muscle.
The Benefits of Percussion Massagers
Using a percussion massager provides lots of benefits:
- Improve the rate of muscle recovery after workouts or injury.
- Improve your range of motion.
- Improve your blood circulation.
- Allows for effective stretching of specific muscles.
- Aids in growing and building muscles when used in conjunction with a workout.
- Helps the release of lactic acid.
- Provides long-term pain relief in aching muscles.
Whether you need pain relief in the deep-tissues of your muscle, are looking for a quick way to recover after an intense workout or have been told by your physiotherapist that you must have a percussive therapy device, percussion massagers—when used in the right way—can be the perfect solution for your body!
Professional athletes often use percussion massagers to both relieve themselves of pain or ease a muscle that’s been overworked. Now, thanks to an explosion of options in the market, it’s never been easier or more affordable to find a high quality, reliable home percussion massager for you!
It can be pretty confusing trying to wade through the different models and types. So, we’ve made it easier for you by finding 6 of the best percussion massagers and breaking them down one by one. Have a read of our all-in-one review below!
There are numerous things you need to consider before settling on the right percussion massager because everyone’s preferences are different.
What do you need it for? Are you looking to build muscle or do you have a specific, recurring injury you want to be able to treat at home? Different percussion massagers suit different needs, so it’s important you think about what you want yours for. For example, if you’re trying to work out a tough knot in your muscle, you’ll want a powerful massager that can penetrate as deep as you need. If you’re looking to just maintain general muscle recovery after a whole body workout, you’ll want a more versatile device with numerous settings and attachments.
For a long time, percussion massagers were expensive! Thankfully, the market has changed and moved on since then. While there are still high-end brands available that offer a range of benefits that the lower priced models don’t, there are plenty of affordable massagers for those with a tight budget. The more expensive brands can reach upwards of $500-$600 and though this might sound exorbitant they’re well worth the price for what they offer. If, however, you don’t need professional-level equipment and want to go for a cheaper model, you can find massagers for less than $100.
Ease of use
The unique benefit of a handheld percussion massager is its ability to be easily used on any muscle of the body. This versatility means that if you buy a percussion massager that’s unwieldy to use you’re bound to get frustrated by how hard it is to reach and work on the right spot. Some massagers are L-shaped with a conventional handle and massage-head, which works well for usage on biceps or leg muscles. The straight and narrow massagers may be useful for reaching down to your calves but will make massaging your back very difficult. Many of the most popular percussion massagers feature a unique triangular handle, like in the image below, which allows for flexibility in the grip for reaching awkward spots on your body and a more even spread of weight while you hold it.
All percussion massagers are handheld but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally portable. If you’re planning on taking your massager along with you to the gym, the track or the field (let alone long-distance travel) you’ll want one that’s suitably portable. The more massagers with higher portability include long battery life (multiple hours of continuous use), cordless functionality, and complementary travel kits. This often comes at a higher price. If you’re strapped for space and weight in your travels, the more powerful and professional massagers won’t be as suitable as a mini, smaller version. The trade-off here is its shorter battery life and lower power. The cheaper options often come with shorter-lasting batteries or require plugging into a power source, which would suit you if you want to use it at home.
Power, power, power. If you’re trying to work out a knot in a muscle, the worst thing in a massager would be not enough power. But by the same token, if you’re sensitive to overly strong massages, you’ll want a percussion massager that either offers lower settings or doesn’t work your muscle too hard. The premium massagers, such as the Hypervolt or Theragun PRO, are able to deliver more hammer-percussions than the less expensive models. Many percussion massagers will offer a few different revolutions per minute (RPM) or sometimes referred to as percussion ‘speed’. The higher the RPM the more intense the massage. A standard massager will offer between 2,000 and 2,600 RPM.
The best way of determining which percussion massagers are worth their salt and which should be avoided like the plague is to check the reviews from customers who’ve already used it. It’s also a good way of determining the pros and cons of each model and ascertaining which is right for you. We’ve included links to each of our recommended massagers so you can check the reviews easily too.
Many percussion massagers might look a bit like an industrial stapler, but don’t expect a simple CLICK! to be done! For effective use you’ll need to use it for longer than a second or two which means that you need a massager that’s easy to grip and comfortable to hold for a period of time. Most manufacturers recommend using percussion massagers for no longer than 15-minutes at a maximum of 2-3 times a day for full-body therapy. When you’re treating a specific area, it’s advised not to use it for more than 2 minutes. This might not seem like a long time, but if your device is difficult to hold at the angle you need you’re going to be VERY uncomfortable.
Quietness vs Noisiness
With its unique hammer-like massage method and high-powered motor, a percussion massager can be a relatively loud instrument. If noise bothers you or might bother those who will be around you while you’re using it, then the level of noise should be a factor to consider. The Theragun PRO, for example, has incorporated innovative technology to specifically reduce the amount of noise it makes.
To kick our reviews off, here’s a handy, quick guide to 6 of the best percussion massagers.
Our Top Pick: Theragun G3
Setting the bar for top percussion massagers everywhere!
Why It’s Our Top Pick
The Theragun G3 is a new and improved model from Theragun which improves on every aspect of previous versions: it provides a higher powered massage, a longer battery life and more sophisticated percussive technology. Designed by a world-leading chiropractor named Dr Jason Wersland, the G3 is a commonly used massager by top athletes, sports professionals, trainers and celebs. With two speeds for different treatments, a specifically designed ergonomic grip for easy use, multiple attachments, and high power to provide muscle and tension relief, the Theragun G3 is worth its higher pricing.
- 1-hour battery life
- Provides pulses up to 2,400 RPMs
- Offers 2-speed options
- Comes with 4 head attachments
Best Entry-Level Choice: TimTam Power Massager
Powerful enough to pack the right punch!
What Makes It The Perfect Choice For Newcomers
The TimTam Power Massager is the reliable percussion massager for everyone! It doesn’t matter how seriously you take your training, how old you are or how sore you are, this nifty device will help your muscles recover and your body feel instantly relieved and more mobile. Easy to use with a simple trigger, a replaceable battery, pocket charger and a max rate of hammer-percussions of 2,500 per minute, this is the best the market has to offer without breaking the bank. Plus, the massage head rotates a full 90 degrees meaning that you won’t break your arm trying to reach those hard-to-reach places.
- 1 hour battery life
- Provides pulses up to 2,500 RPMs
- Offers 1 speed option
- Comes with no additional head attachments
Best Value-For-Money: Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion
Good for your muscles and your back pocket!
Why It’s The Best Value For Money
If you want your percussion massager to work a treat without costing an arm and a leg the Wahl Deep Tissue Massager is the way to go. With a low price tag, this device still offers effective all-round muscle relief and therapy. Rather uniquely, the flat disc design of one of its heads offers the ability to cover large areas of the body without compromising the massage. Also, if you like your massage a little rougher and tougher you can utilise the varying power settings to find the right level that suits you. There’s a bunch of other unique features to the Wahl massager as well, such as its long, thin handle. While for certain areas of the body this makes it VERY user friendly, it can be a bit tricky and less easy to use for more difficult spots.
- 9-foot power cord
- Provides a variable scale of pulses
- Provides a variable scale of speed options
- Comes with 4 head attachments
The Premium Pick: Hypervolt by Hyperice
If you’re going for gold, go Hyper!
What Makes It Such a Premium Product
The Hypervolt by Hyperice is a high-powered, high-performing percussion massager. There are a number of advantages to the Hypervolt that its competitors just can’t match. For one, it’s super powerful: up to 3,200 percussions per minute! There’s no deep muscle this bad boy can’t reach. But just because it’s highly powered doesn’t make it highly noisy. This massager features a “quiet glide technology” for a much quieter experience. Plus, the ergonomic design means it’s as comfortable to use as can be, which is just as well because with a three-hour continuous use battery life you have the option of using it for quite a while at a time! But you won’t have to massage yourself the same way all that time either because it also boasts numerous speeds and attachments.
- 3 hour battery life
- Provides pulses up to 3,200 RPMs
- Offers 3 speed options
- Comes with no additional head attachments
The Professional’s Pick: Theragun PRO
Simply the most professional on the market!
Why we picked it as our preferred option for professionals
We know, we know. A second Theragun percussion massager in one list? While the PRO is brought to you by the same team as the standard G3, this is a whole different beast. This is a professionally designed and commercial-grade device that’s one of the top choices for elite and pro-athletes. Hence its name. And there’s a reason for it: this powerful massager can help relieve super extensive muscle tension and muscle pain. Its ergonomic design is specifically engineered for both longer usage per session and flexibility in reaching tough spots on the body. This massager is built to work and built to last. Think over 50% quieter than most competitors. Think deeper muscle penetration. Think multiple-hour battery life thanks to its two interchangeable batteries. Think PRO.
- 2.5 hour battery life between two swappable batteries
- Provides pulses up to 2,400 RPMs
- Offers 2 speed options
- Comes with 6 head attachments
The Alternative Choice: HoMedics Percussion Action Massager with Heat
With some extra unique offerings, this is a unique pick!
Why we’ve picked it as an alternative
This HoMedics percussion massager provides effective muscle and pain relief with quite a few other tricks up its sleeves. For one, it uniquely offers more than just percussive massaging thanks to its dual, pivoting heads. You can choose a more classic kneading-like massage if you so choose instead of the classic percussive hammering. Plus, with a couple of swappable nodes, you can even choose between 3 percussion-specific styles. But the real kicker is in the name: this massager offers a heat function to help loosen stiff muscles. When you combine this sort of versatility in massage-operation with its relatively easy-to-handle design and affordable price tag, this is definitely a device to consider.
- Requires power cord to be used
- Provides pulses up to 2,400 RPMs
- Offers variable speed options
- Comes with no head attachments
What is the best percussion massager on the market?
As we expanded on above, the best percussion massager for you will depend on a number of factors that will vary from person to person. That’s why we’ve outlined the top 6 and highlighted what makes each one “the best” in their category. Our opinion is that the Theragun G3 offers the best spread of features, function, price and effectiveness. That’s why it’s our top pick. But if ease-of-use, budget, or special features are more important to you, then there are plenty of other options!
Which percussion massager is the strongest muscle relaxer?
Both the Hypervolt by Hyperice and the Theragun PRO are reliably long-lasting and immensely powerful massagers used by professionals for elite physiotherapy and muscle rejuvenation. If you want a strong and deep-reaching massager that takes its long-term muscle-treating seriously, we recommend either of those two options.
Should I spend money on an expensive brand?
This is a hard question to answer. Again, it comes down to what your preferences are. If you just want a basic percussion massager and don’t need the bells and whistles, there’s no need to shell out cash. If you want a piece of equipment that really offers powerful and deep massage therapy, then the more expensive brands will probably meet your needs more. Consider the factors that are most important to you and then make your choice from there!
That’s that. We’ve broken down what percussive massagers are, what you need to consider before buying one and then recommended the top 6 for you. Not every option will be optimal for every person. At the end of the day you need to decide what’s right for you. Our list is an excellent place to start and provides a really expansive list of the pros and cons of each of the best hand percussion massager models. But it’s by no means exhaustive. So, hustle your muscle, jump online, check out Amazon, and find the one that suits you best. Good luck!